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Audit of the use of kinesiology tape for breast oedema

Mary Woods, Sara Finnerty, Sian Thomason
14 February 2014

<p>Background: Lymphoedema developing in the breast and truncal area after treatment for breast cancer can be challenging to manage and distressing for patients. Kinesiology tape has traditionally been used in sports injuries and is considered effective at improving lymph drainage (Kase et al, 2003). It offers potential as a self-care option for managing swelling in this area. Aims: To explore women’s feelings and experiences of using kinesiology tape in the breast and truncal area and to establish whether measurable change could be detected with its use. Methods: Kinesiology tape was applied weekly to the breast or chest wall for a period of three weeks, and circumference measurements of the chest wall using a standard narrow spring loaded tape measure were recorded weekly. The patients’ experiences of using the tape was recorded on a simple questionnaire. Results: Ten patients completed the audit. Changes in measurement were difficult to establish but improvements in tissue texture were noted. The completed questionnaires indicated that the tape was comfortable but there were some concerns regarding ability to complete daily hygiene with the tape in place. The need for written information about the tape was highlighted. Conclusions: Kinesiology tape offers an additional approach to the management of lymphoedema, particularly in more challenging areas of the body, but decisions regarding its appropriateness for an individual should always be made following an assessment by a healthcare professional.</p>

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